President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has said that the Igbos are simply visitors in Lagos State.
The elder statesman made the claim during an interview with Vanguard.
Iwuanyanwu, while praising the Igbos for their contribution to Lagos and Nigeria at large, stated that his kinsmen have contributed to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country more than any other group because they are present in every local government.
He said, “Without fear of contradictions, when you talk about Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in Nigeria today, I think Igbo contribute more to the GDP than any other group because we are there in every local government. There is no local government in Nigeria today where you won’t see Igbo. Wherever they are, they carry out their businesses which could be trading in one commodity or the other, even farming. Whatever they do, they pay taxes, build houses and live peacefully with the people there. I believe they are doing well for Nigeria.”
Speaking further, the Ohanaeze leader noted that despite the Easterners’ contribution to the growth of other states, they are aware that they are visitors and their home will always be in Igbo land.
He insisted that the Igbos are not making any claims to Lagos State, adding that any landed property that was acquired by them in the state was legitimately paid for.
“When you talk about Lagos, some Igbo have lived in Lagos since their grandparents began living here, which is as far back as 1914. The truth about this thing is that we have a character in Igboland which makes us different. We know that we have a home and our home is in Eastern Nigeria. Wherever we go, we know we are visitors, and we have never gone anywhere to claim their land. Every Igbo man who owns a property in Lagos does so legitimately.
“We have not come to preach a sermon that God gave us the land in Lagos. We paid for it. People from Igboland have not only developed lands, they have built houses. If you go to Lekki, Victoria Island, Lekki, everywhere, these things were built by humans. Lagos is Lagos because people, like the Igbo, came and invested. They include northerners and those from other tribes. Igbo came, invested and developed the place without forgetting the fact that they are visitors. Every Igbo man is told from home to obey the law of his host community and Igbo have done that all through history,” he added.
On Friday, 6 July, after leaving Alaba International Market, Chief Dr Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu CFR went to see the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo Olu.